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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > British Virgin Islands

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British Virgin Islands: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in British Virgin Islands

A shirt and tie are required for the summer months; lightweight suits are normally worn at other times. Best time to visit is December to April.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0830/0900-1630/1700.

Economy

Tourism and financial services are the islands' main economic activities. Tourism employs around one-third of the working population directly or indirectly and accounts for about 45% of GDP.

The offshore financial sector, which has been operating since the mid 1980s, has been a spectacular success, by virtue of the British connection, benign legislation and political uncertainty in rival centres (notably Hong Kong and Panama). However, in the last few years, the government has been forced to respond to international pressure to tighten its regulatory regime in order to prevent money laundering.

Agricultural production is limited by poor soils, and relies mainly on livestock rearing, but some fruit and vegetables are produced for export. Rum is an important export commodity, and its distilling is the principal industrial activity.

GDP

US$840 million.

Main exports

Rum, fresh fish, fruit, animals, gravel and sand.

Main imports

Building materials, cars, food and machinery.

Main trading partners

US Virgin Islands and USA.

Keeping in Touch in British Virgin Islands

Telephone

There are no area codes.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is excellent. Handsets can be hired.

Internet

Internet access is available in some hotels. There are a few internet cafés and free Wi-Fi hotspots. BVI Marine WiFi (www.bvimarinewifi.com) offers a subscription service giving wireless access at the main harbours.

Media

There are no public broadcasters based in the British Virgin Islands; all TV and radio stations are privately run. Cable and satellite TV is widely available. There is freedom in the British Virgin Islands' press to criticise the government. The BVI Beacon, the BVI StandPoint and the Island Sun are newspapers published weekly.

Post

Airmail to Europe takes up to a week.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1630.